Q: My boyfriend of 1½ years has awful time-management skills (he stays up half the night working), and we end up spending maybe a total of two days a week with each other. I work 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, and he is freelancer, so there are little to no boundaries with his career. Weekends are my only free time, but he has days off during the week. Our relationship seems like something he does not have time for, and he gets resentful when we spend a lot of time dealing with relationship problems. I love him and do want to be with him, I but I need more. I feel like I am already compromising.
– L.P., Amherst
A: It sounds like most of your communication outside of your time together is spent on problems in your relationship. If that is the case, it's likely a sign that things need to be re-evaluated. Have a serious conversation with him about the way things are, what needs to change in order for you to be happy, and then he can decide if he's willing to compromise. If he's not, you need to move on. There is a strong incompatibility here, and it will only get worse with time if he's not willing to be considerate of your feelings.
Everyone is different and has their own needs when it comes to relationships. Some people are satisfied with seeing their partner on the weekends and no more. Others are more comfortable with the idea of spending every moment of free time together. The fact that your boyfriend works a lot and has little free time is neither right nor wrong, it simply is reality. You need to decide whether you are willing to, as you said, compromise your own wants and needs for his. I would advise against it. I understand that you love him, but loving someone does not on its own make a relationship healthy or beneficial.
Is a guys-only trip OK?
Q: I am divorced and have a terrible taste in my mouth about separate vacations. My ex-husband used to take them, and now the man I am living with is taking one – to Florida with the guys for a long weekend of golf. The two of us go on vacation once a year, but I feel slighted when he goes off with his friends. I feel like I should be included, though I'm not into golf. Am I wrong for feeling this way? He tells me I should take trips with my girlfriends, but I don't want to go anywhere without him.
– R.S., Lancaster
A: I wouldn't say that you're wrong, but I do think it is OK for the two of you to have separate friends with separate interests, and to spend time apart.
The two of you have your alone-time vacations, which is great, so I think it's fine that he wants to spend a weekend with his buddies. The fact that he is encouraging you to spend more time with your friends shows that he trusts you, wants you to have fun with them, and he won't be resentful if you choose to do so. I think you should let him go without making him feel guilty.
In the meantime, plan something fun with your friends or family.
If it opens an old wound, or if it's an issue of not trusting him, that's a whole separate problem that should be addressed calmly and rationally with open and honest communication.
Patti Novak welcomes your relationship questions. Email her at www.pattinovak.com. Please include your initials and hometown.